Little Suprotik had been to his granny after a long time. His dad had dropped him there before going to office. Rupali had packed in his bag a packet of chocochips and muffins.
‘Give them to granny and tell her to come to us, if possible, this weekend’
Rupali had told him.
‘I will mom, don’t you worry!’
Suprotik had said.
Granny was waiting for him at the porch. On her recliner, she was sitting when Devarghya dropped him.
‘O my heart’s joy! Come to me child!’
Granny took him to her arms, the moment he climbed up to the porch.
Suprotik after a long time got that familiar smell of granny, her betel leaf smell mixed with smell of turmeric, cinnamon and vegetables.
‘Take these, mom sent’em for you’
Suprotik handed granny the packets of chocochips and muffins.
‘Ma, I will take him on my way back home…’
Devarghya had said.
‘O…will you not stay for awhile and have brunch with us?’
‘No ma, I got works…’
‘Couldn’t Rupu come?’
‘No, ma, she got works too, you know…’
‘O yes… I tend to forget…’
Granny nodded her head.
Soon granny took Suprotik to her kitchen.
Granny’s kitchen always kept Suprotik full of wonders.
Entering it he was at once gripped with aroma of spices. There was no kitchenette , no chimney, no water purifier,no cabinets. But there was that grand chulla of a kind. It was run on wood and charcoal.
The rotis made there always had that peculiar smell of charcoal.
And those grilled mushroom and paneer cubes.
Suprotik delved into the plate given to him by granny. A simple chinaware, no fancy stuff, but he noted every time he would come to granny’s , she would serve him on that particular plate.
‘Why do you serve me on this plate, every time, granny?’
Suprotik had asked.
‘Cause your dad used to have his food from this one…’
Post lunch, granny took him to her garden.
A beauty of a garden it was!
The bunches of marigolds and roses and chrysanthemums greeted Suprotik at once with their trembling petals.
‘Want to take any?’
Suprotik looked at granny’s face.
She looked so beautiful in her white saree with thin embroidered border. Her face was resplendent. She looked like an angel almost.
‘Okay… As you wish…’
Granny picked up few marigolds and roses, tied them with a twine and gave them to him.
Suprotik took a deep smell.
‘They are so beautiful…’
‘Nothing like you dear!’
Granny gave a mild pinch to his cheek.
‘Why don’t you go and stay with us, gran?’
‘If I go, who will take care of my garden?’
‘But then you said there is nothing like me?’
Suprotik asked back.
Granny signaled Suprotik to sit down on her lap.
‘Want to listen to a story?’
‘Once there lived a tree who wanted to be the most worthy. He prayed to God. Despite his prayers the woodcutters came and chopped him off. The tree thought he was unworthy. But still he prayed. The log was kept for weathering for few months. Then one day, a carpenter came and turned the wood into a beautiful box. That box was sold to a poor couple. The couple put all their dirty linen in the box. But after some months when they were blessed with a child, they cleaned the box and put him there. Then the tree realised God’s benediction. So see, all the trees that I had planted here, are for my God, whom I worship. So I can’t leave them. And you know who my God is?’
Suprotik, who was listening to the story with rapt attention, couldn’t at once answer granny’s query.
‘It is you…for you bring me all the hope to work for…I take care of this house, this garden, only with the hope that you will come…’
Granny had said.
‘Okay, I promise to come to you…every week…’
Granny had said.
Late in the afternoon, Devarghya came to take Suprotik.
Granny gave him the bunch of flowers and a jar of pickles.
‘You can have the pickles all the year round…’
While he was returning home, through the window the slanted rays of the setting sun with its own superb spring time hue were caressing the face of little Suprotik.
He was holding on to the bunch of flowers tied by a twine.
‘I would love to be at granny’s every weekend!’
He suddenly demanded.
‘Why? For those flowers? Or stories?’